Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said former President Donald Trump should stop peddling conspiracy theories that the 2020 election was stolen, arguing that the claims are inconsistent with putting America first and damage the Republican Party’s efforts to blunt President Joe Biden’s agenda.
“I think it would be better if he accepted the results of the 2020 election. And I think that would be better for the country. There hasn't been any type of substantive evidence that has come forward,” the former two-term governor and Republican 2024 contender said during a virtual appearance at the annual Texas Tribune Festival.
“I wanted him to win, I voted for him both times,” Christie added. “But in the post-election period, he put himself ahead of the country. And I think anybody who's been honored enough to be president of United States has to understand that when the American people give you that honor, the country has to come first.”
Christie, 59, is more than simply a Trump voter.
The former governor has been friends with Trump for years and endorsed then-candidate Trump at a critical juncture of the 2016 GOP primary campaign after his own White House bid fell flat. For the next four-plus years, Christie functioned as a close, informal adviser to Trump on political and policy matters. But since Trump lost to Biden last November, Christie has been sharply critical of his old friend’s claims that the election was stolen.
Indeed, Christie is among the few prominent Republicans to give Trump a public tongue-lashing on a topic Trump continues to flog eight months after exiting the White House. The former governor addressed the matter head-on, again, during a conversation at the Texas Tribune Festival that aired Thursday. Trump was at it again the same day, demanding that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott audit the 2020 election results in the Lone Star State despite having won there easily.
“I think first step that he needs to [take] to help the country, is to say he accepts the results of the 2020 election,” Christie said. “He could be angry about it, he could say there were certain things about it that weren't fair, that's all a fair game. But to say it was rigged and it was stolen, there's just no evidence to that. And, what is it, 60 or 65 courts across the country, including courts that have been run by Trump nominees, have all rejected that.”
"I would just say that I think that these conspiracy theories and not just these, but others that have been out there, just are not good for our party,” Christie continued. “They distract us while Joe Biden is in the midst of trying to change this country in a way that could be irreversible politically. We're not paying attention, as much attention to that as we should, and we're paying attention to this other stuff.”
Christie, 59, left the governor’s mansion nearly four years ago. He sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, ending his campaign after a disappointing finish in the New Hampshire primary. But Christie, who recently signed on to aid GOP redistricting efforts, is mulling another run for the White House in 2024. Some Republicans in Christie’s position have said they will not run for president if Trump mounts a third bid for commander in chief.
The former governor previously said Trump seeking the party’s 2024 presidential nomination would not automatically preclude him from doing the same. Christie reiterated those comments during the Texas Tribune Festival and suggested he would not shy away from hammering Trump for his handling of the post-election period and his behavior since if both find themselves running against each other.
“If I run, I'll certainly have something to say about it, but we'll wait to see if I run, and if I do, I think you know me well enough to know that I won't hold back,” Christie said, adding, “I don't think you make a decision about whether to run for president or not based upon what someone else does.”
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Original Author: David M. Drucker